Two African Coffees

May 09, 2012

Yesterday morning I tasted two Colombian coffees side by side. Whereas Colombians are studies in simple balance, Africans often dazzle me with their dynamic, fruit-like acidity. They often taste less like coffee than like juice, which is perfectly alright by me. 

This morning I compared two Africans from Coffea Roasterie, a small-batch roaster based  in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. If memory serves, the current owners bought out Great Plains Coffee Roasting and re-named the operation. Their hall-mark seems to be natural-processed Africans. Their selection of beans is carefully curated, which is another way of saying small, and yet they always seem to have two African naturals on the menu. I'll review their naturals in the future; today, just the washed-process.

The first comes from Rwanda, from the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative ($15.50/12 oz.). If you get the urge to do a roaster-to-roaster comparison, this is a coffee that Dogwood is also offering. Rwandas are known in the industry for being susceptible to what's called the potato defect--a bean might look perfectly normal, but it'll actually taste like potatos. While I'm open to my coffee not tasting like "coffee"--I love juice-like Africans, after all--potato is one flavor that I'm not eager to try...

But no potato here. Just sweet raspberry preserves, and a mellow dried fruit, something like dates.

The second coffee comes from the Yirgacheffe region and was sourced through Ethiopia's new auction system ($16.25/12 oz.). The provenance is thus not crystal clear, but one sniff of the whole beans tells me everything about origin that I care to know. YIRGACHEFFE.

I tasted very pleasant meyer lemon and smelled fruit-tree blossoms. Sometimes a Yirgacheffe will be overwhelmingly lemony, or artificially so, reminding one of Pledge furniture polish. But the lemon flavor here was light and refreshing. These beans are probably a great candidate for iced coffee.





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